It’s been a good week. My goals for this week were to track food and count calories, every day. I was successful on both counts, which resulted in reaching my weekly weight loss goal. (I lost 1.8 pounds, and my weekly goal is 1.6).
Last weekend, I turned in a literature review for a school assignment on the benefits of caloric restriction and the prevention of age related chronic disease. It was a huge reminder for me on the importance of including vegetable into my daily diet. Now, I know how important veggies are for our health, but, like many people, they aren’t on my favorite things to eat list, so I tend to be a bit slack in this area and avoid them when I can.
But, I did notice a trend, something I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t been tracking food and counting calories. What was this trend? For the most part, I stuck to my 1550 calorie budget everyday. Despite this, I didn’t lose weight every day. The days I did lose weight, were the days I ate lots of veggies. As it seems, the more veggies I ate, the better. I don’t normally advocate for daily weigh-ins, but I was experimenting with my veggie intake. As painful as daily weigh-ins were, it paid off in the end. I’ll go back to weekly weigh-ins.
So, what am I eating?
- 3 servings of starchy carbs – typically quinoa or sweet potatoes, also winter squash such as butternut and spaghetti squash. I occasionally splurge and have some gluten free toast, white rice or regular potatoes.
- 1 avocado
- 2 servings of fruit – usually at the same time – in a smoothie
- 2.5 servings of protein – 1 – 3 ounce servings of lean meat, fish or chicken, 1 serving of beans and 1 egg (the egg is the 1/2 serving)
- 2 servings of healthy oil (olive or coconut oil)
- 1 serving of nuts (1 ounce)
- Although not exact, this totals APPROXIMATELY 1400 calories. I realize this isn’t an exact way to track calories. However, for me, tracking servings is the easiest way to track caloric intake.
- allow myself unlimited amounts of non-starchy veggies
- follow an intermittent fasting schedule 14 hours fasting/10 hours eating
I no longer worry about macronutrient percentages. Instead, I focus on servings. I have tweaked the servings in each category several times over the past 3 weeks. Sometimes more protein and less starch. Sometimes more fat, and less protein/starch. For now, this is what I’m eating and I’ll adjust as needed.
You’ll notice that my diet is mostly plant based, with just one 3 ounce serving of meat. I experimentally began reducing my protein intake just this week, as a result of my caloric restriction research. I’m not sure how it will go or if this is a permanent change. I’ll track over the next few weeks and let you know.
I don’t include specific servings of non-starchy veggies. That’s because they aren’t included in the calorie total. For the most part, non-starchy veggies are so low in calories and so high in nutrients that they don’t add any calories to the daily total. That said, I do track them, just to make sure I’m eating enough every day.
Also, as a result of my caloric restriction research, I’ve decided to drop my caloric intake from 1550 to 1400. This new goal is approximately 30% lower than my maintenance intake of 2036 calories. The 30% reduction is the rate most scientists use in anti-aging studies. If you’d like to calculate your caloric intake, FOLLOW THIS LINK.
Keep in mind, this is all experimental on my part. I’m trying to pinpoint the diet that helps me lose weight and, at the same time heals my body. Gaining health is more important than losing weight. (The weight will come off, when my body heals).
I’m not trying to find the best diet for everyone, just the best diet for me. There is no “one size fits all” diet for humanity. There is only what’s best for the individual.
When I lost 50 pounds the first time, I did a 10 day juice fast, during which I lost 11 pounds, then went on a vegan diet, when I lost the remaining weight. As I reflected back on this, I realized I lost weight because I was eating a plant-based diet. I didn’t forget about the vegan diet, I just didn’t want that to be the reason I lost weight the first time. (Because it’s really HARD!) Originally, I thought I lost weight the first time because I had somehow flipped a “weight loss switch” when I did my first juice fast and what I did after didn’t matter. I don’t think that was the case. I’ve tried doing other juice fasts since then, and haven’t been able to yield the same results. I think the key was, how I ate AFTER the fast. While the fast was helpful in cleansing my body of toxins, I don’t think it was key to my weight loss.
I’ve tried so many ways of losing weight. I’ve listened to the experts and am going to school to become an “expert”. I’ve listened to diet gurus when they said “eat lots of protein” – it’s the key to losing weight. I’ve listened to vegan gurus, who’ve said “avoid animal protein – it’s bad for you”. What I found, for now, is somewhere in between. Will it work, only time will tell. What I do know, my discovery, is that I’m my own best expert. Only I can know what’s best for me.
WE MUST BE OUR OWN EXPERTS.
AFTER ALL, WHO KNOW US BETTER THAN WE KNOW OURSELVES?
Until next time…Namaste my friends